65 km long by 45 km wide, with a surface area of 720 square miles, Mauritius is situated 855km east of Madagascar and over 1800 km from the African coast. The island’s relief is composed essentially sea shores and a central plateau with maximum altitudes of 600 meters, a number of ranges and craters of dead volcanos. The highest point on the island is the summit of the Piton de la Riviere Noire (827 m). All around the island are white sandy beaches, surrounded by lagoons, protected by an important coral reef. The main towns are Port-Louis ( the capital), Beau-Bassin/Rose-Hill, Quatres Bornes, Vacoas/Phoenix, Curepipe.
Arab traders had known about the island since the 10th century, but it was the Dutch who named it, after Maurice Prince of Orange and count of Nassau. They arrived in 1598 and introduced sugar cane – fields upon fields of which still blanket the island. They also brought tobacco.
The descendants of the first inhabitant from Africa are the Creole people whose music, dancing ( the Sega is a fiery dance that must be experienced ), cuisine and smiling faces are integral to modern Mauritius – along with those of Indian, French, British and Chinese heritage, creating a unique and fascinating ethnic mix.
Mauritius has “belonged” to the Dutch, then French, then British before being granted independence in 1968 and officially becoming a republic in 1992. This breathtaking, isolated island is a dream destination – volcanic peaks in the interior looming over miles of ancient palm forest and sugar cane plantations, with hundreds of kilometres of the unspoilt reef as your aquatic playground. Resorts here mercifully adhere to a rule preventing them building higher than the palm trees, melding into the beauty of the natural environment. This is a remote destination – and yet so accessible.
Agriculture has always been the backbone of Mauritian economy. Up until recent times, sugar cane was the mainstay , and even today it covers 40% of the island’s surface area, yielding an annual harvest of 600 to 850,000 tonnes, from June to November. Another economic growth sector is Tourism. Its regular expansion means hotel construction and new air links, and tourism now employs 15000 people. Today however the leading economic field is industrial development. High-tech industries are developing alongside the already well-established textile industries. The whole area is served by an offshore banking centre and a duty-free port for warehousing and transit of merchandise.
There is an extraordinary diversity, Indians, Creoles, Mohammedans, Europeans, Chinese, English, a mixture of races. The Mauritians are courteous and very hospitable. There are around 1,200,000 inhabitants on the island.
Religions: Christianism, Hinduism, Islam and many others.
The inhabitants of Mauritius represent many different cultures, all of whom have their ceremonies and religious feast days. The Hindu ceremonies are the most spectacular ( walking on burning coals) and take place from October to March. The traditional music is the Sega inspired by the African dances. Local food , like the island itself, is diversified and spicy which you will discover through Hotels Constance culinary spirit
English is the official language although everyone also speaks French. Creole is fluently spoken.
The average temperature is 27º centigrade during the day and rarely under 20º at night. They are two seasons. Hot from November to April. Warm from may to October. One finds micro-climate everywhere and rainy weather on the central plateau.
- Port Louis
- Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens
- Moka Town & Around
- Curepipe & Environs
Read More : Top Things to do in Mauritius